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Home arrow newsitems arrow French Foreign Minister Fabius to Eurofora: For the Unity of Opposition in Syria

French Foreign Minister Fabius to Eurofora: For the Unity of Opposition in Syria

Written by ACM
Thursday, 18 April 2013
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*Strasbourg/EU Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- France is in favor of the Unification of all the democratic forces opposed to President Bashar Assas in Syria, said to "EuroFora" French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabious, experienced former Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker, after expressing his regrets for the fact that, otherwise, and in the absence of a major change, the current situation doesn't seem to offer any other obvious Good solution in the foreseeable future, as things stand today.
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- "Yes, I Hope. I really do hope so !", stressed smiling Fabius in reply to "EuroFora"s question if he thought that there is any real possibility for the Syrian Opposition to be United, (as f.ex. it was done in Libya and other Arab a.o. Countries in the recent Past).


- A fortiori when "Syria was traditionally a United Country", as the French Minister observed already earlier in this regard, speaking at EU Parliament's Foreign affairs Committee.

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- Meanwhile, some Dissident circles represented also in Strasbourg circulated inside the EU Parliament ther refusal to consider the Unification of all the Syrian Opposition as a "Condition" for a decisive help from Western Countries, (despite the importance that Russia and others traditionaly give to this crucial point : See relevant, previous "EuroFora"s NewsReports). "Questions are always raised about the Reason for which the Syrian Opposition is not United" yet. "But, will the International Community remain always without doing nothing, while People are still killed in Syria, simply because it would be waiting for a Political Unification" among all Dissidents, they wondered, considering that it was today merely "Hypothetical"....


- To "EuroFora"s question on the Real Reasons for which, exceptionally, in Syria, the Unification of all 0pposants to Bashar Assad seems much more Difficult than in any other Country (Comp. Supra), a well informed American observer pointed mainly to the fact that  "the Kurdish Minority wants to have a Right to use the Kurdish Language" in the Area predominantly inhabited by Kurdish populations"; i.e. close to the Turkish border.


This fits with critical observations made recently on the sidelines of an EU Council in Brussels by a Syrian Kurdish Journalist to "EuroFora", who claimed, indeed, that Turkey's obstinated Refusal to admit any Cultural/Linguistic a.o. Autonomy of the Syrian Kurdish Minority, with the result to "Block" in practice the Opposition's Unification, merely because of Ankara's fear to have to face, sooner or later, to face a similar prospect inside its own territory, as it's currently also the case in Iraq, etc.


- In this regard, replying earlier to MEP's questions, the French Minister agreed that it seems to be some "Hopes" regarding Turkey's reported "Talks with the PKK" on the Kurdish issue.


Could EU Parliament's careful wording in favor of taking "Steps conducive to the Opening (in the EU - Turkey Negotiations) of the Chapter on Regional policy", (strongly Opposed by many MEPs of various Political Groups and from several EU Countries), - after new French Socialist President Hollande reportedly accepted after his Election, even if this wasn't really debated in Public during the 2012 Electoral campaign : See "EuroFora"s relevant Previous NewsReport dated February 20, from Paris- be, in fact, also an attempt to help broker a Regional Deal with Ankara over the Kurdish issue, which might contribute to find a solution in the Syrian conflict ? Otherwise, it would obviously be difficult to explain the real reason of such a concession to Ankara, since the Turkish Authorities have, instead of doing any progress on their obligations vis a vis EU's Standards, on the contrary, aggravated recently the Violations of Human Rights and the derogations to the detriment of Democratic principles, the Threats and/or intransigeance  vis a vis Neighbouring Countries Greece, Armenia, and Cyprus, etc., as many key MEPs critically denounced in a "hot"  EU Parliament's debate yesterday...

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 - "It's very Difficult not to be Pessimist" : "It's a horrible Tragedy", stressed earlier on the current situation in Syria, the experienced French Foreign Minister.


 - "I'm not optimist for the Future, because, if we try to continue what is going on until now, there is a Risk of Explosion, where the most Extremist elements take over : Iran regime's allies, from the side of Mr. Assad, and, from the side of Sunnites, (as he said), Al Quaida-linked forces, might counter-balance that, if the current situation is prolonged.  This could not only augment the number of persons killed, but also have serious Repercussions throughout all the neighbouring Region, f.ex. on Lebanon, Jordany, Iraq and even Turkey : This is a Major Danger, considering also the Chemical Weapons existing in Syria", he warned, (timely speaking the same day that US and Russian Media reported that the 2 Chechen Terrorists who killed innocent People in Boston, and were following developments in Syria, had lived in Turkey and even acquired a Turkish nationality)..

 - "So, the only "good" Solution would be a Political one. I.e. to change the situation on the ground, so that both sides accept to discuss between them. It's true that there are Different positions between the various components of the Opposition. But we (France) support, nevertheless, the (Turkey-based, controversial) NCS, because we think that a solution is needed, which would not be similar to the non-solution of Iraq, so that the Institutions (of the Syrian State, mainly the Army) can contine to exist. Otherwise, they risk to implose, and push us all back to the previously examined situation, i.e. that which could be dominated by extremists, provoking Chaos.  


"In this regard, what is needed is  Humanitarian and Political efforts, at a level that we haven't reached yet, and, from another side, is raised the question of the Arms' embargo, that EU a.o. maintain, while others don't always, including f.ex. Iran, Russia and other Countries. So, the UK and France have raised this issue, which is due to be discussed at the end of May", he pointed out.


In fact, there arguments both for and against the Arms Embargo. In favor of lifting it, is obviously the fact that, otherwise, the Dictator (Bashar Assad) would continue to provoke massacres. As for the Opposition, its Majority is more or less "Moderate", but, there are also Extremists who risk to take over, particularly if things don't change", Fabius found out. However, there is also the problem that, if Arms arrive at Syria, they might be usurpated by Extremists. So, it's all that that we (EU) have to examine on May", Fabious had anounced from the start.


- But, as things stand today, Fabius expressed, earlier in conclusion, his "great Concern", "because there is no good solution", as he said, "since all existing alternatives present serious Dangers", (comp. Supra), and there is currently no "Deus ex machina" who might offer, suddenly, out of the blue, a satisfactory solution" in the current situation, in which "I don't have yet a ready-made solution", he acknowledged.
However, "this doesn't mean that nobody shouldn't do anything to try to find a solution, but, on the contrary, that all should mobilize their energies in order to help definitevelt stop that on-going bloody conflict, and, in this regard, "I wish that the EU does its best", Fabius concluded
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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

***

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